WRITER: Kathy Hanks

'Billions of plastic containers in the U.S. alone': Lawrence man creates Earth-friendly solution for gardeners

Ian Spomer was watching the BBC's “Gardeners’ World” two years ago when the show's host, Monty Don, wondered aloud whether there was a solution to plastic containers in the garden. Spomer, a Lawrence resident with a degree in environmental studies from the University of Kansas, imagined that surely someone had invented a silicone flower pot. “There is a lot of plastic waste created by the garden ...

Local company invests in its employees' personal dreams ahead of its own

When Stacey Wycoff was first asked to dream big, she wasn't sure how. At the time, she was a new employee at Pennington & Company, 501 Gateway Drive, which does fundraising and alumni relations for sororities and fraternities around the U.S. She quickly learned the Dream Big program was just as much a priority as filling out health insurance papers. Implemented in 2011, the program is loosely based on the ...

Intermittent fasting as a way of life has brought about healthy results for one area resident

Three years ago, Kyle LaRosh received a wake-up call when his doctor started him on medication for prediabetes. “I knew what that meant," said LaRosh, of Tonganoxie. “My great-grandmother and grandmother, aunt, uncle and dad all died from complications of type 2 diabetes. I have a cousin without a foot and several other cousins who take medication and try to manage it. I knew it ended badly." His doctor ...

Kansas historian to walk in Rose Parade on New Year's Day

Historian Sarah Bell knows firsthand that researching and writing a dissertation can be a long and often lonely process. But on New Year’s Day, Bell, who earned a doctoral degree in May for her research on the women's suffrage movement, will be more visible — an estimated 93 million people worldwide will be able to see her walking alongside a float in the 131st Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif. The float ...

Go, See, Do: More downtown carriage rides, a New Year's Eve party for kids and more

Holiday carriage rides to benefit the Lawrence Community Shelter have been so popular that organizers have decided to keep them rolling on two more dates. Two horse-drawn carriages, driven by Frank and Peg Burkdoll of Lyndon, will be picking up passengers from 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday and 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday at the valet parking area of the Eldridge Hotel, 701 Massachusetts St. The carriages will travel ...

Between the bar and the church, attorneys find spiritual strength through ministry

For the past 28 years, John Bullock has been an attorney, but he recently added another vocation to his life’s work. On weekdays, he's in his sixth-floor office at Stevens & Brand LLP, 900 Massachusetts St., helping clients resolve conflicts. On Sundays, he’s the curate at St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church in Olathe. As a curate, Bullock assists the parish priest. On Jan. 11, 2020, he will be ordained as ...

Blind woman hit by a semitruck in August is recovering 'one day at a time, one step at a time'

Tina Jinkens and her running partner, Carol Lounsbury, once covered miles together, but when they met up on a recent morning, Jinkens was hoping to walk a mile. A year ago Jinkens, of Eudora, was training to run the Boston Marathon, the second marathon of her life. Because she’s blind, she competed as part of a team of visually impaired runners. To train for the race, the 49-year-old depended on running ...

A Christmas tradition has family handing out gifts on Massachusetts Street

The three people loaded with red gift bags looked like last-minute shoppers Monday morning, but instead of bringing the presents home they were handing them out to strangers they encountered on Massachusetts Street. Scott Sloyer and his adult children Tyler and Rachel began the tradition of handing out gifts to those who may be in need when they lived in St.Louis. They brought the family tradition to Lawrence ...

A Lawrence house and its current owners weave their histories together

Two years ago when Rodney and Judith Taylor decided to move to Lawrence to be closer to family, they found the perfect home just three hours after walking through its front door. Rodney didn’t hesitate. He thought the blue house with the wrap-around front porch at 2135 Massachusetts St. was perfect for them. It wasn't their only quick decision over the years that turned out well. They decided to marry in ...

Go, See, Do: Van Go benefit concert, annual menorah lighting and more

Shoppers at Van Go's annual holiday art sale this weekend will be able to take in some eclectic music at the same time. The social service agency that employs at-risk young people as apprentice artists will be welcoming Kansas City-based musician Calvin Arsenia for a benefit concert on Saturday. Arsenia is a classically trained harpist who performs in a variety of genres, including jazz and electronic music. ...

Free program helps African Americans reduce risk of developing Alzheimer's disease

Currently, 5.8 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease; however, the disease is more prevalent among African Americans, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Because of that discrepancy, the University of Kansas Alzheimer’s Disease Center has launched an outreach project aimed at the African American community. According to the Alzheimer's Association 2017 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and ...

Lawrence woman named 2019 CASA Volunteer of the Year for Kansas

When an email from CASA showed up, Kristina Chartrand figured it was announcing the volunteer of the year, and she thought she’d check it later to see if someone she knew had received the honor. Before she could check, Amy Buchele-Ash, her CASA advocate coordinator, called to congratulate her. Kristina was stunned to learn that she had been named the 2019 volunteer of the year by the Kansas Court Appointed ...

KU is the setting for professor's most recent detective novel

By day, University of Kansas professor Leonard Krishtalka is the director of the Biodiversity Institute and Natural History Museum, but by night he writes fiction. Though educated as a scientist, for as long as Krishtalka can remember he has loved writing. His moonlighting has paid off with the completion of three novels. The most recent, “Death Spoke,” was released in November and centers on the murder of ...

Go, See, Do: Carriage rides on Mass. Street, Prairie Moon winter fair and more

A new holiday event will be rolling through downtown Lawrence this weekend: carriage rides for a good cause. Several local businesses, including McGrew Real Estate and the Eldridge Hotel, are partnering to offer the horse-drawn carriage rides on Massachusetts Street as a benefit for the Lawrence Community Shelter. Starting on Sunday afternoon, the carriages will depart from the Eldridge's valet parking area and ...

Former Lawrence resident uses music to cope with chronic illness, and he's now sharing his tunes

Meeting the in-laws can be daunting. But meeting them in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language and suddenly come down with a life-threatening illness that leaves you temporarily blind and paralyzed is another thing altogether. That’s what happened to Tyron Byrd, a former Lawrence resident, on his trip to France with his fiancée, Lucie Dubail, two years ago. Before heading off to meet his ...

Despite current dry conditions, Lawrence still more than 8 inches above annual rain average

After a tempestuous spring and summer, which brought flooding and destruction of property for some area residents, the fall has been dry. A third of the way through December, only a trace of precipitation has been reported at the Lawrence Municipal Airport, said Daniel Reese, a meteorologist with National Weather Service office in Topeka. During November, 1.18 inches of precipitation was recorded at the ...

In Lawrence, flu season is hitting earlier than it did last year; experts emphasize prevention

Flu season won’t peak until early next year; however, coughs, aches and fevers are currently on the rise, according to the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department. In recent days, there has been an uptick in the number of Douglas County residents who have gone to an emergency department in Kansas with flu-like symptoms, according to Sonia Jordan, director of informatics with the health department. On Nov. ...

Author takes risks with first novel, which explores love and atomic bombs in Las Vegas

Kansas native Shannon Pufahl was mulling over the plot of her first novel long before she began writing “On Swift Horses.” At first, she thought the story would focus on her grandparents, who moved from Kansas to Southern California after the Korean War. Her grandmother spent time in Las Vegas, where she developed a passion for gambling. Along with Pufahl’s own family memories, including trips to Las ...

Steam locomotive roaring through Lawrence has special meaning for 95-year-old woman who worked for Union Pacific

Mable Durrant was a petite young woman, but that didn’t stop her from standing by the railroad tracks and holding out messages to enormous passing trains, doing her part for the war effort back in 1942. Mable, now 95, had just graduated from high school in Arkansas during the height of World War II when she heard that the Union Pacific was training women to be telegraphers. “All the boys were getting ...

Go, See, Do: Holiday Extravaganza, stargazing and an audio-described musical coming up

This year’s Holiday Extravaganza craft show will span three basketball courts at Sports Pavilion Lawrence. There will be 206 vendors, including local and regional artists selling their work. Plus, there will be a variety of items from pottery, photography, holiday decorations, jewelry, handmade furniture, baked goods and much more, according to Duane Peterson. “We have been sold out since September, with ...